TOKYO: Tokyo Govornor Yuriko Koike has won a second term to head the Japanese capital, propelled to an election victory on Sunday by public support for her handling of the coronavirus crisis despite a recent rise in infections that has raised concerns of a resurgence of the disease.
In her victory speech, Koike, the first woman to lead Tokyo, pledged to continue to take measures to protect the city’s 14 million people amid the pandemic, calling it her most pressing task.
Now is a very important time to prepare for a possible second wave, and I will continue to firmly take steps, she said.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK said its exit polls showed that 74pc of respondents supported Koike, with 63pc saying they approved of her handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Koike, 67, is a veteran conservative who has served in key Cabinet and ruling party posts, and is viewed as a potential candidate to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when his term ends in September 2021. For now, she says shes focused on protecting the lives of the people of Tokyo, a megacity with a $1 trillion economy.
The next four years is a crucial time for Japan’s capital, with the Olympics and Paralympics coming up, and coronavirus measures are needed, she said. I’m fully committed to my duty as governor.” Tokyo’s infections started to rebound in late June, with the city reporting 111 new cases on Sunday, topping 100 for a fourth straight day. New daily cases have spiked throughout Japan in recent weeks, with the country approaching 20,000 cases and 1,000 deaths.
Koike said, however, that another state of emergency nationwide or in Tokyo would be difficult because the economy had already been battered by seven weeks of restrictions in April and May. She instead pledged to balance disease prevention and the economy, while suggesting pinpoint measures in specific areas.
One area would be Tokyo’s night entertainment districts linked to younger people, who have accounted for the majority of recent new cases. A record 22 candidates ran in Sundays election.